What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring English singer and songwriter Anne-Marie.
Anne-Marie has an impressive musical resume, with heaps of nominations and wins at awards shows around the world (including a recent nom as Best British Female Solo Artist at the 2019 Brit Awards), a long list of charting songs that float between the worlds of tropical pop and dance, like “2002,” and is just off a jaunt where she shared the stage with Ed Sheeran on his Divide Tour. Now, without a pause, she’s on her own headlining Speak Your Mind Tour. It’s quite a lot, but everything Anne-Marie does in life, she does with obsessive acceleration. Consider, for example, that before she was a singer touring around the globe, she was a karate world champion.
As Anne-Marie empties out her backpack for The Verge, it quickly becomes evident this tendency funnels its way down to her everyday items. From a book that convinced her that humans do, in fact, need to sleep, to scores of scrunchies, there’s no middle ground for Anne-Marie.
So tell me about your bag.
So, this is a backpack. I can’t just carry around a handbag because they’re too small for all the things I need. So I’m a backpack lover. I have so many backpacks because when I leave the hotel I don’t go back until the end of the day, so I need everything right with me that I could possibly need. This one is by Axel. My stylist got it for me. We work really closely together. I wouldn’t say I’ve always had an eye for style, or that I’m a fashionista, but I know what I feel comfortable with. It’s always been really hard working with a stylist, so it’s more like, I tell her what to get and she gets a better version of what I’ve told her to find.
This is really strange. But I have a razor with me. [Laughs] I shave my arms and legs at really weird times because I’ll forget and then I’m like, “Oh, I need to do something with my legs.” And face wipes, I need those to shave my legs with! So, that happens.
Yeah. That’s real life, folks.
Yes. Obviously dry shampoo and deodorant, which I think every girl needs. And then this is all my makeup and oh, here’s something I live by. You need some moisture in your face or things that are good for your skin overall. I love this stuff called Skin Food, which is why I’ve used it all up. I use it every morning and every night on my face. I can’t live without it. And then I have under-eye patches.
Do they work?
Yeah. Well, I don’t know. Maybe in my brain.
What kind of phone do you have?
I have an iPhone X. But I just cracked it the other day, so I’ve got to figure that out. Every time I go to a shop they’re like, “Truly, get the insurance just in case,” and I’m like, “No, I’ll never smash it,” and then this happens. My charger. I don’t know how many of those I’ve had over tour, but it’s the running joke that I have a new one every week. I bring a hat because I just love hats. Everywhere I go, to and from places, I always wear a hat and then take it off. This is one of my favorite hats because it’s got loads of different flags on it. I think I’ve had the most compliments on this hat from people.
What brand is it?
It’s just Topshop! Basically my whole clothing thing is menswear. I also have a jumper because my body temperature is like, three degrees lower than everyone else’s in the world. So I’m always cold. It’s from Urban Outfitters Men’s. A hairbrush, because my hair is a bitch. I have a book.
A real life book.
An actual book! It’s called Why We Sleep, because I don’t sleep and I keep trying to have an argument with everyone about how I think it’s just pointless and boring to me. I’ve started to read this book and now I realize it’s definitely not pointless and I definitely need it. [Laughs] So yeah.
And I have headphones. They’re one of my favorite things in the whole world.
These are Bose noise-canceling?
You have so many sunglasses.
I’m addicted to sunglasses. I have two pairs in here. Two for the price of one! And I have a third pair in the other room. This is a rare occasion for me to only have three with me today. I normally have, like, 10 in my bag just in case I decide to change up my outfit. I feel like sunglasses can change the whole look. And I love that. And then this is just extra jewelry. This is really cute because when I did a photo shoot once there’s a lady altering stuff because I always feel like I have to get bigger trousers to fit my hips. But then the waist is always too big so I have a lady there tightening the waist. And there was this particular top that had all this material left over. So she made a little bag from it!
That’s so cute!
It has loads of jewelry in it. I’m addicted to that as well. I like everything shiny.
Have you had time to go jewelry shopping on your tour?
No. When I was last here I found a little jewelry store at the corner of a road. It was a proper tiny one where you could find loads of beautiful things in. I was trying to search yesterday for that little shop and I couldn’t find it anywhere. But I found sunglasses on the way so it’s fine.
I’m addicted to scrunchies as well.
This is a proper ‘90s throwback.
Yeah. I’m an obsessive person. If I like something I have to get loads of it.
What model is your iPad?
It’s an old one. I’m not sure, I’d have to find out.
When you’re on the road how do you write songs?
I’m all in my phone really. On the recording app thing. So there’s just loads of little bits of recordings that have me going like, [sings] “When I see you.” [Laughs]
I mean if I have a pen and paper I write it down, but it’s mostly on my phone because you can get inspired at any moment. I actually find it easier to write when I’m not in the studio because it’s more freeing and there’s less pressure. So I take whatever’s on my phone into the studio and if it’s good enough, we’ll write to it.
Do you record mostly in a traditional studio or do you have a portable set up?
Always in a studio. I don’t have that kind of stuff with me so I always have to wait until I’m in a session with a producer where I can actually have a microphone.
So how long is this current tour going?
The Ed Sheeran tour has been going since the end of April and I finish at the end of September. The US tour has been going for nearly six weeks now and I’ve been doing my own one in between. I did a really bad thing where I packed all of my show outfits and forgot that I would have days where I’d need normal clothes.
So the whole time I’ve been going to Urban Outfitters every day and buying new T-shirts. It’s a long, long tour, but it’s been amazing, especially with doing my own one in between. It’s such a different experience from being in the stadium as a support act to doing your own headline in a really intimate venue. It’s crazy.
I so prefer the smaller venues.
The sound is better.
Oh, that’s interesting.
I mean from my point of view in a stadium, the sound kind of bounces back into my microphone. So then I’m hearing like, three instances of my voice with each song.
I’d love to know who could tell that this is my bag from just the pictures. I wonder who could guess that.
I bet your friends could for sure. Like, yep, I know those scrunchies.
Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales
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